Monday, November 07, 2005

83 Percent of Maryland Residents Favor Making English Official Language of State; High Rates of Support Evident Throughout Old Line State

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Five-in-six Maryland residents support making English the official language of the state according to a new poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. The poll of 815 registered voters in the Old Line State found that 83 percent of Marylanders favor legislation that would enact official English legislation, with more than two-thirds of respondents strongly favoring such a measure.

The overwhelming support for the proposal carried across party, race and regional lines. More than three-in-four Democrats and nine- in-ten Republicans favored the legislation, while regional support ranged from 89 percent in western Maryland to 77 percent in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Residents of the Baltimore suburbs (86 percent), the city of Baltimore (83 percent) and the Eastern Shore/Southern Maryland (83 percent) also displayed favorable responses in the Oct. 17 through Oct. 21 poll, which has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points, with higher margins of error in sub-groups.

"Maryland residents continue to realize that English fluency is the most important skill for education, employment, and personal growth," said Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English, Inc. "I hope these numbers will spur our legislators into action to do what is best for both new and native residents. If the people cannot find elected officials who will carry out their wishes within the current legislature, they will replace them with legislators who will."

Past official English legislation in Maryland has called for the government to conduct official business in English and ensures that the state does not have an obligation to provide foreign language services. The bills take into account numerous common sense exceptions to ensure the constitutional rights for all Marylanders. Public health and safety information, law enforcement and courtroom translation are all be exempted from the law.

Twice in the past 12 years, the legislature has voted to make English the official language of Maryland, only to have the measure vetoed by the governor. In 2005, a similar bill was deadlocked in the Health and Government Operations Committee.

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U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non- partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. ( http://releases.usnewswire.com/redir.asp?ReleaseID=56282&Link=http://www.usenglish.org ) now has more than 1.8 million members nationwide.

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